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panetta held what could be his final press conference as head of the pentagon. he announced the creation of a military award called the distinguished warfare metal. the secretary also talked about north korea's nuclear program. the troop drawdown in afghanistan and the series of automatic spending cuts called sequestration. secretary panetta will retire pending the confirmation of defense secretary nominee chuck hagel. [laughter] >> you are on your own, kid. >> good afternoon. as you know, this is i believe my final press conference here at the pentagon briefing room. there are moments when i thought i was part of the last act of an italian opera and i'm not sure exactly when it would end. i think that the congress will act, and that they will confirm chuck hagel this week. what i wanted to do was come down and use this opportunity to first of all thank you all, all of you that are part of the press corps here and the press in general. throughout my 50 years in public service, i have always believed, believed very deeply in the role of the press. because i believe deeply in the role of t
at the pentagon and intelligence advisory board, chuck hagel is uniquely qualified to meet challenges of defense and effort he put into the record many statements in support of senator hagel. this is what he says relative to a rant. iran poses a significant threat. >> please take your conversations outside the chamber. senate will proceed. >> no one talks about position on iran. poses a significant threat to the united states and interest in the region and globally. iran pursues an illicit nuclear program with the threats to provoke a regional arms race. and is fully committed to the quote preventing iran from obtaining new layer but then to achieve that goal and relative to israel, he's a strong supporter of israel, deputy minister he is a good friend of israel and in the word of dna alone says he believes and is not talking a senator hagel in the natural partnership between israel and the united states as part of the volume of defense relations between israel and the united states, which are so important to both countries. now the only question is what we're voting on. what we are voting on he
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